Mandello Magic: Moto Guzzi V85 TT teaser

WORDS: Ross Mowbray PHOTOGRAPHY: Moto Guzzi

Taking inspiration from do-anything dual-sports of the 1980s, and buoyed by the success of its recent retro-styled output, Moto Guzzi has stepped out of its comfort zone releasing a new shaft-driven off-road ready adventure machine, the V85 TT.

Moto Guzzi’s new V85 Tutto Terreno (All Terrain) marks the Italian factory’s first foray into the adventure bike market since its 1200cc Stelvio met its demise with the introduction of Euro 4 regulations. Described as a ‘Classic Enduro’ machine, the new V85 TT takes styling inspiration from Guzzi’s V65 TT Dakar machine from the mid-80s, but despite its retro appearance, the Mandello-built machine is surprisingly well kitted out with mod cons.

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There’s ABS, traction control, three rider modes, a USB slot, a TFT dash (with communications system and sat-nav compatibility), and it even comes with cruise control, which is a really nice addition for a middleweight adventure machine (that’s oft neglected by other manufacturers). And it looks great, too – from its classic-styled double LED headlight inset with Moto Guzzi’s Mandello eagle embelm to its exposed frame and bold paint job.

Moto Guzzi has created two slightly different variants for you to choose from – there’s either the slightly more expensive (to the tune of £200) premium dual-colour edition, which comes with more off-road focused Michelin Anakee rubber, or the standard single-colour model which comes with Metzler Tourance tyres.

The premium model is available in either Giallo Sahara or Rosso Kalahari colour schemes, while the standard model is available in Grigio Atacama, Blu Atlante or Rosso Vulcano. To see what the two marginally different models are like on the road, we headed out to Sardinia for the world launch, and after spending the day carving corners on the Italian island, here are our thoughts on the funky retro adventure machine.

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First impressions

First things first, the V85 TT is far more agile on the road than I ever expected it to be. We didn’t hang about on the test ride – scratching pegs on tight switchback and fast sweepers – and the bike handled it all in its stride. It’s nimble, flickable and great, great fun.

On the suspension front, Guzzi seem to have found the perfect compromise between comfort and performance, with the 41mm KYB forks and KYB rear shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping soft enough to soak up the bumps, but stiff enough to allow you to brake hard into corners and push the bike to its limits.

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While we’re on the subject, its brakes are decent too; nothing revolutionary, but more than up to the job. Sharp and immediate when you need them to be, but sophisticated enough to allow you to lightly trail brake into a corner with confidence (without the intrusion of ABS). Ground clearance is limited though, with the pegs grinding on the tarmac a little too easily for my liking.

Find out more in the latest issue of MSL – on sale now!

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